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Olympus E-3 vs E-330

The Olympus E-3 and the Olympus Evolt E-330 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in October 2007 and January 2006. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The E-3 has a resolution of 10 megapixels, whereas the E-330 provides 7.4 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-3 versus Olympus E-330
Olympus E-3 Olympus E-330
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Four Thirds lenses Four Thirds lenses
10 MP, Four Thirds Sensor 7.4 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-3,200 ISO 100-400 (100 - 1,600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5 LCD, 230k dots 2.5 LCD, 215k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationLens stabilization only
Weathersealed bodynot weather sealed
750 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
142 x 116 x 75 mm, 876 g 140 x 87 x 72 mm, 637 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus E-3 and the Olympus Evolt E-330? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-3 and the Olympus E-330 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Olympus E-3 vs Olympus E-330
Compare E-3 versus E-330 top
Comparison E-3 or E-330 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-330 is notably smaller (26 percent) than the Olympus E-3. Moreover, the E-330 is markedly lighter (27 percent) than the E-3. It is worth mentioning in this context that the E-3 is splash and dust resistant, while the E-330 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Olympus E-3 142 mm 116 mm 75 mm 876 g 750 Y Oct 2007 1,699i
2.
 
Olympus E-330 140 mm 87 mm 72 mm 637 g 750 n Jan 2006 999i
3.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
4.
 
Leica Digilux 3 146 mm 87 mm 77 mm 606 g 750 n Sep 2006 1,499i
5.
 
Nikon D300 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799i
6.
 
Olympus E-5 142 mm 117 mm 75 mm 873 g 750 Y Sep 2010 1,699i
7.
 
Olympus E-600 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 535 g 500 n Aug 2009 449i
8.
 
Olympus E-620 130 mm 94 mm 60 mm 521 g 500 n Feb 2009 699i
9.
 
Olympus E-30 142 mm 108 mm 75 mm 701 g 750 n Nov 2008 1,299i
10.
 
Olympus E-420 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2008 599i
11.
 
Olympus E-520 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 535 g 750 n May 2008 699i
12.
 
Olympus E-410 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699i
13.
 
Olympus E-510 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 n Mar 2007 799i
14.
 
Olympus E-500 130 mm 95 mm 66 mm 479 g 750 n Sep 2005 599i
15.
 
Olympus E-300 147 mm 85 mm 64 mm 624 g 750 n Sep 2004 799i
16.
 
Olympus E-1 141 mm 104 mm 81 mm 738 g 750 Y Jun 2003 1,699i
17.
 
Panasonic L1 146 mm 87 mm 64 mm 606 g 750 n Feb 2006 999i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The E-330 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 41 percent) than the E-3, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a Four Thirds sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

In terms of chip-set technology, the E-3 uses a more advanced image processing engine (TruePic III) than the E-330 (TruePic), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Olympus E-3 and Olympus E-330 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the E-3 offers a higher resolution of 10 megapixels, compared with 7.4 MP of the E-330. This megapixels advantage translates into a 16 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the E-3 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.74μm versus 5.51μm for the E-330). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the E-3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 8 months) than the E-330, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The resolution advantage of the Olympus E-3 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-3 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-330 are 15.7 x 11.8 inches or 39.8 x 29.9 cm for good quality, 12.5 x 9.4 inches or 31.9 x 23.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.5 x 7.8 inches or 26.6 x 19.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Olympus E-3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus Evolt E-330 are ISO 100 to ISO 400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-1600.

E-3 versus E-330 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Olympus E-3 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.610.557156
2.
 
Olympus E-330 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
3.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
4.
 
Leica Digilux 3 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
5.
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
6.
 
Olympus E-5 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.610.551956
7.
 
Olympus E-600 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.510.354155
8.
 
Olympus E-620 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.353655
9.
 
Olympus E-30 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024none21.310.453055
10.
 
Olympus E-420 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.452756
11.
 
Olympus E-520 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.410.454855
12.
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451
13.
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252
14.
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
15.
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
16.
 
Olympus E-1 Four Thirds 4.9 2560 1920none........
17.
 
Panasonic L1 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
Both the E-3 and the E-330 offer Live View, so that they make it possible to use the rear screen for framing. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The E-3 and the E-330 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the E-3 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the E-330 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the E-3 has a higher magnification (0.58x vs 0.47x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus E-3 and Olympus E-330 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Olympus E-3optical Y 2.5 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
2.
 
Olympus E-330optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
3.
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
4.
 
Leica Digilux 3optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
5.
 
Nikon D300optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
6.
 
Olympus E-5optical Y 3.0 920 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
7.
 
Olympus E-600optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y
8.
 
Olympus E-620optical n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y Y
9.
 
Olympus E-30optical Y 2.7 230 swivel n 1/8000s 5.0 Y Y
10.
 
Olympus E-420optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
11.
 
Olympus E-520optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y Y
12.
 
Olympus E-410optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
13.
 
Olympus E-510optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
14.
 
Olympus E-500optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
15.
 
Olympus E-300optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
16.
 
Olympus E-1optical Y 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 n n
17.
 
Panasonic L1optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

One feature that is present on the E-3, but is missing on the E-330 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The E-3 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the E-330 does not have a selfie-screen.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the E-3 and the E-330 write their files to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.

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Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Olympus E-3 and Olympus Evolt E-330 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Olympus E-3Y-----2.0---
2.
 
Olympus E-330Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---
4.
 
Leica Digilux 3Ystereomono---2.0---
5.
 
Nikon D300Y----mini2.0---
6.
 
Olympus E-5Ystereo---mini2.0---
7.
 
Olympus E-600Y-----2.0---
8.
 
Olympus E-620Y-----2.0---
9.
 
Olympus E-30Y-----2.0---
10.
 
Olympus E-420Y-----2.0---
11.
 
Olympus E-520Y-----2.0---
12.
 
Olympus E-410Y-----2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-510Y-----2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-500Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-300Y-----2.0---
16.
 
Olympus E-1Y-----2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic L1Y-----2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Olympus E-3 (unlike the E-330) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the E-3 and the E-330 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-3 was replaced by the Olympus E-5, while the E-330 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus website.

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Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Olympus E-3 better than the Olympus E-330 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-3:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (10 vs 7.4MP) with a 16% higher linear resolution.
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (TruePic III vs TruePic).
  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.58x vs 0.47x).
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 8 months after the E-330).


Advantages of the Olympus Evolt E-330:

  • More compact: Is smaller (140x87mm vs 142x116mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 239g or 27 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (41 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2006).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the E-3 is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 4 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

E-3 13:04 E-330

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-3 and the Olympus E-330 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-3 or the E-330. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Olympus E-3..88/100+ +o4/5 Oct 2007 1,699i
2.
 
Olympus E-330....+o.. Jan 2006 999i
3.
 
Canon XT..80/100+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
4.
 
Leica Digilux 3.......... Sep 2006 1,499i
5.
 
Nikon D300..+ ++ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799i
6.
 
Olympus E-54/5..75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,699i
7.
 
Olympus E-600........4.5/5 Aug 2009 449i
8.
 
Olympus E-6203/588/10072/1004.5/55/5 Feb 2009 699i
9.
 
Olympus E-30....71/1004.5/54/5 Nov 2008 1,299i
10.
 
Olympus E-420..85/100+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2008 599i
11.
 
Olympus E-520..87/100+ +4.5/54.5/5 May 2008 699i
12.
 
Olympus E-410..86/100+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2007 699i
13.
 
Olympus E-510..89/100+ +3.5/54.5/5 Mar 2007 799i
14.
 
Olympus E-500..76/100+ +.... Sep 2005 599i
15.
 
Olympus E-300....+o4.5/5 Sep 2004 799i
16.
 
Olympus E-1....+o.. Jun 2003 1,699i
17.
 
Panasonic L1..85/100+..3.5/5 Feb 2006 999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Olympus E-3:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-330:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Olympus E-3 vs Olympus E-330

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Olympus E-3 Olympus E-330
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Four Thirds lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date October 2007 January 2006
    Launch Price USD 1,699 USD 999
    Sensor Specs Olympus E-3 Olympus E-330
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 7.4 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3648 x 2736 pixels 3136 x 2352 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.74 μm 5.51 μm
    Pixel Density 4.44 MP/cm2 3.28 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 400 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 1,600 ISO
    Image Processor TruePic III TruePic
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 56 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.6 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.5 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 571 ..
    Screen Specs Olympus E-3 Olympus E-330
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.58x 0.47x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 215k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Olympus E-3 Olympus E-330
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationLens stabilization only
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF or XD cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Olympus E-3 Olympus E-330
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Olympus E-3 Olympus E-330
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodynot weather sealed
    Battery Type BLM-1 BLM-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)750 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 142 x 116 x 75 mm
    (5.6 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
    140 x 87 x 72 mm
    (5.5 x 3.4 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 876 g (30.9 oz) 637 g (22.5 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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